by thinkwell

(Mar. 27, 2015) — At the time the Constitution was being written, some of the founding fathers felt that parentage was the strongest contributor to allegiance, whereas others favored place of birth, while still others insisted on both. Madison held that place of birth is a stronger force of allegiance than parentage. In the time of the founding, since travel far from one’s birthplace was rare, I suspect that Madison in fact was referring to the place where one was born and raised. (Personally, I have no recollection of my own actual birthplace for I was very young when I was born.)

If you think about what confers thoughts, ideas and allegiance, what shapes a person’s being and loyalties, then what should be driving the presidential eligibility debate becomes crystal clear.

In the beginning of life an infant or young child cares nothing about the place where he was born and raised. All of his formative influence is from family (parentage). As he grows, the child soon begins to interact with his peers and gains an awareness of the surroundings in which he lives. Over time, he naturally begins to form an attachment to his community, its customs and its history. This is the natural allegiance to place (the birth allegiance to which Madison referred). But the allegiance to the teachings and memories of one’s parents never leaves. It remains a strong influence throughout life. Even if one or both parents have been largely absent, there is a natural longing to learn of who they were, where they lived, what they thought in order to learn of one’s natural roots and characteristics (exhibit one: aka Obama’s Dreams from My [putative] Father.)

The founders wrote that the presidential eligibility clause was intended to provide a strong check against foreign intrigue. Mere place of birth does not provide this check as is immediately obvious from considering the case of an anchor baby born here to alien parents, then raised to adulthood in the land and culture of his parents only to return as an adult (for example, to attend college). By this weak eligibility check, such a “citizen” (who could never be considered a 100%, red-blooded, through-and-through American) could legally become president after meeting the residency and age requirements. Does anyone really believe that this is what the founders had in mind? Really?

To me it is obvious that a strong check against foreign intrigue can only be met by requiring that one have been born and raised one hundred percent American so that by one’s very nature, one’s innate being, no other possible allegiance exists. A strong check is only provided by requiring both blood AND dirt (with regard to the place where one is raised).

For the most part, I don’t think it matters where one was born, but only that one has been raised by America-loving Americans in the culture of America. Thus a foreign birth in and of itself, such as McCain’s or Ted Cruz’s, really has little influence on their allegiance (the only exception to this being if one is born in a country that claims jus soli birthright citizenship and that that birthright is officially recognized by the USA, such as is the case with Canada).

Since Ted Cruz moved to the USA when still a toddler, I do not think his Canadian birth influenced his developing allegiance one whit. I worry more about the influence of an alien father who could not trouble himself to become an American citizen until decades after he was first eligible. What kind of lesson to Ted was that? (Rafael Cruz was a Cuban when Ted was born, but became a Canadian before moving to the USA when Ted was four. Even though he was eligible for citizenship after five years, he didn’t bother becoming an American until an additional 26 years later in 2005.)

The prior discussion is not so much about what technically constitutes a natural born Citizen, but rather what is the actual source of natural allegiance in man. The founders, out of necessity born by practicality, chose a bright-line standard that was either clearly met or was not (born in country of citizen parents). It was perhaps not 100% congruent with exclusive allegiance, but it was close enough and unambiguously assessable. And by any reasonable standard, Ted Cruz is not a natural born Citizen.

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  1. ” …. The oath of fealty, and the ancient oath of allegiance, were, almost the same; both resting on lands; both designating the person to whom service should be rendered; though the one makes an exception as to the superior lord, while the other is an obligation of fidelity against all men. 2 Bl. Com. 53. Pal. 140.

    Service, therefore, was also an inseparable concomitant of fealty, as well as of allegiance.

    The oath of fealty could not be violated without loss of lands; and as all lands were held mediately, or immediately, of the sovereign, a violation of the oath of allegiance, was, in fact a voluntary submission to a state of outlawry.

    Hence arose the doctrine of perpetual and universal allegiance.

    When, however, the light of reason was shed upon the human mind, the intercourse of man became more general and more liberal: the military was gradually changed for the commercial state; and the laws were found a better protection for persons and property, than arms.

    But [p141] even while the practical administration of government was thus reformed, some portion of the ancient theory was preserved; and among other things, the doctrine of perpetual allegiance remained, with the fictitious tenure of all lands from the Crown to support it.

    Yet, it is to be remembered, and that whether in its real origin, or in its artificial state, allegiance, as well as fealty, rests upon lands, and it is due to persons.

    Not so, with respect to Citizenship, which has arisen from the dissolution of the feudal system and is a substitute for allegiance, corresponding with the new order of things.

    Allegiance and citizenship, differ, indeed, in almost every characteristic.

    Citizenship is the effect of compact; allegiance is the offspring of power and necessity.

    Citizenship is a political tie; allegiance is a territorial tenure.

    Citizenship is the charter of equality; allegiance is a badge of inferiority.

    Citizenship is constitutional; allegiance is personal.

    Citizenship is freedom; allegiance is servitude.

    Citizenship is communicable; allegiance is repulsive.

    Citizenship may be relinquished; allegiance is perpetual.

    With such essential differences, the doctrine of allegiance is inapplicable to a system of citizenship; which it can neither serve to controul, nor to elucidate. …”

    Cheif Justice Rutledge Talbot v Janson 3 US 133 Decided Aug. 22 1795

    The “allegiance” required of a POTUS is an intangible and un-determinable quality that can ONLY be hoped and prayed for, but actually knowing the heart and thoughts of another person is as elusive and as changeable as the winds of time its-self.

    But the complicated and inter-twined foreign entanglements of the “0”, and Teddy the 1/2 cuban and son of a socialist revolutionary, are examples that John Jay only hinted of.

  2. All true. But the amazing part of the whole equation is that there’s got to be, let’s say, 100 MILLION real honest-to-goodness Americans, ALL born by parents who were born in the USA, who are light-years more qualified to be POTUS than Cruz or any other marginal potential candidates.
    I mean, why are we even discussing this? Why were these people even elected to public office in the first place? It’s good to have legal immigrants holding public office and such, but how come the RNC even allowed these people to even be considered for the president or VP positions in the first place?
    And, yes, we understand that many citizens hate their country, so much so that they couldn’t give a hoot whether Obama is Constitutionally qualified to even be the POTUS.
    They don’t care, but they don’t care because they’re just not smart enough to care. They can’t seem to comprehend the dire consequences of embracing a political philosophy that ends in hardship, destruction and death.
    These people are so warped with hatred that they hold-up Chairman’s Mao’s Little-Red-Book as a badge of honor.
    Welcome to the “Killing Fields”, the Communist way of problem solving.
    And look what the Socialist Party did to Germany: they gave the Germans Hitler and Death Camps.
    It’s a fixed deck and the dealer holds all the Jokers.
    The government is the dealer; congress; judicial; Joint Chiefs of Staff; NSA, DHS, IRS are all the dealers and if you’re part Native American Indian, a Veteran, legally eligible to be the POTUS, you’re on the top of the “Domestic Terrorist List”.
    You get death threats while you’re campaigning to be the president but you don’t inform the FBI because you don’t know who’s behind those threats. Maybe the FBI is sending you the e-mails about how they want you and your family dead. You just don’t know who to trust, but there’s one thing you DO KNOW: